Shuku Sunzu, UNE Sports Academy Student playing soccer at the UniSport Games 2020

Highlight | Sports Academy Student, Shuku Sunzu

Today we want to share a bit of a student story with you – now this guy, is pretty cool, and you may have seen a bit of his fancy footwork before! He is studying Bachelor of Criminology here at UNE, one of our fantastic Sports Academy team and local Football legend – honestly, he is good, he recently won the Golden Boot Award at SportUNE Football Leagues 2020 awards evening, on top of his team, Souths Armidale winning the Div 1 competition for 2020 and being named the Champion of the Clarence Futsal Tournament 2020.

From that, we’re guessing you can gather that he is a pretty busy guy. But we recently got chatting and we thought we should share a bit more about this legend, so let us introduce you to Shuku Sunzu.

Shuku Sunzu, UNE Sports Academy Student playing soccer at the UniSport Games 2020

What brought you to UNE?

I moved to Newcastle from Burundi in Africa with my family when I was 12 years old.

For a long time, I wanted to study criminology and my local university did not offer that. I, therefore, had two options for where to study, Sydney and Armidale. Armidale was my obvious choice because there are fewer distractions.

I chose to study Criminology because I grew up with a lot of people my age performing delinquent activities sending them to jail. I guess you could say I developed my passion for helping others from making the same mistakes as my friends did.

How did you go with SUFL (SportUNE Football League) this year?

Great, it is such a good competition to be involved in – it was really well-managed, and the fact we were able to play on the best venues in town made it even better.

Our team, South Armidale, performed very well; we won the Division 1 Minor Premiership, as well as the Grand Final which was awesome.

Football has been a big part of my life, I started at the age of 9 – and haven’t stopped. I would have to say that my biggest sporting inspiration is Brazillian footballer Ronaldinho.

How has the UNE Sports Academy helped you with your athletic and academic potential?

It has helped massively! I have been a part of the UNE Sports Academy for 2 years now.

The one-on-one gym sessions, as well as the personal structured training timetable, has helped me excel in my chosen sport. It also really helps me manage any injuries and recovery time.

On the academic side, the individual advice and assistance given has helped me stay on track and keep me motivated!

How do you juggle your studies and your passion for football?

In time, I have learnt to manage my time more efficiently, which has really helped me to complete my objectives.

Effective time management, and having a passion towards both my sport and degree, gives me the mindset to want to complete both of these with strength.

What does a regular day look like for you?

Well, this year it was a bit different because I’ve had to balance training for a marathon, as well as going to the gym, team and individual training for football, completing my study and working as a casual.

A normal day for me would be breakfast in the morning, gym or a 10km run. Then catching up on study before evening team training, then back to study.

It’s been busy!

What’s one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring students?

If you focus, with the right attitude you can achieve anything.

Thanks so much for spending a little time with us Shuku – we’re really excited to see you grow as an individual and a sportsman! We know you’re kicking goals!


If you’re interested in learning more about the UNE Sports Academy you should check this out!